Review: ‘Pigskin,’ a Gorgeous Homage to Body Horror

Any film, feature or short, that features music from The Chromatics and Desire is okay in my book (and maybe that’s why I love the soundtrack to Drive so much). Pigskin, the Florida State University thesis film from Jake Hammond and Nicola Newton, is a 13 minute short about the pains of growing up– literally– and body image issues.

Our young protagonist, Laurie Vernon (Isadora Leiva), appears to be your average cheerleader, except that she has a secret. In close-up, we are shown Laurie’s skeletal body, ribs almost piercing through her skin, as she wraps her stomach in gauze, covering scratch marks across her abdomen. Despite this, like most teenagers, she currently harbors a crush on someone, a jock named Glenn Brody (Pablo Gonzalez). The giddy moment Laurie’s been waiting for has come, from behind Glenn coolly appears and asks a jubilant Laurie to spend some time with him.

This initially innocent moment, soon turns sour, with Glenn attempting to get the cheerleader to jump in the school pool with him. That, however, means she would have to reveal her secret and to top it all off, there’s a pestering presence that seems to be stalking her down empty halls and barren locker rooms brooding in her conscience. What is this mysterious silhouette figure that keeps appearing and reappearing in far off distances, looming closer at every incident? Are they a manifestation of her inner demons, come to, literally, claim her?

Directed and co-written by Jake Hammond with Nicola Newton (also cinematographer) Pigskin is a gorgeous homage to the nostalgia of 80’s teen sexuality set to the tone of a body conscious 21st century feminism. Albeit brief, the film explores the male and female obsession with the female body. In one case, men lust over young women’s bodies, on the other hand,  the female, obsesses over their image as it relates to others (i.e. men). The film explores the body with Cronenberg proficiency, and detailed gore, in a gut-wrenching finale that brings the film together thematically with metaphorical grandeur.

The film features the acting talents of: Isadora LeivaPablo GonzalezIsabella GroffJulie Moss, and Luke Evans.

Pigskin has screened at many festivals including, Black Warrior Film FestivalAtlanta Film FestivalWorld Horror ConventionPortland Horror Film FestivalPalm Springs International Film FestivalAtlanta Shortfest, and Popcorn Frights Film Fest.

Upcoming festivals include Rome International Film FestSplat! Horror Film Fest, and Idaho Horror Film Festival.

To learn more about the film, visit their Official Website and check out the trailer below.